Banners hang on a fence as protesters stage a blockade of the rail line at Macmillan Yard in Toronto, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. The protest is in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to the LNG pipeline in northern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

CN Rail laying off 450 workers after blockade forces shutdown in eastern Canada

Coastal GasLink signed agreements with 20 elected band councils, but hereditary chiefs oppose it

CN Rail is laying off about 450 workers in its operations in Eastern Canada after cancelling more than 400 trains in the past week over a rail blockade protesting an LNG pipeline in British Columbia.

The layoffs will affect operational staff, including employees working at Autoport in Eastern Passage, Moncton, Charny and Montreal.

The Montreal-based railway said Monday the situation is “regrettable” because the impact on the economy and its employees from the protests is unrelated to CN’s activities and beyond its control.

These layoffs are in addition to an undisclosed number of CN layoffs that made headlines in November.

CN said the shutdown is “progressive and methodical” to ensure it can be restarted when the blockades end completely.

READ MORE: Trudeau says Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades a critical moment for country

Coastal GasLink signed agreements with 20 elected band councils along the pipeline route, including the Wet’suwet’en First Nation’s council.

But Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs are opposed to the project and say the council does not have authority over the relevant land

The Canadian Press

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